Panama foreign minister Erika Mouynes expressed frustration to Axios that the Biden administration seemed caught off guard by the Haitian migrant crisis because “we sounded the alarm when we should have.”
Why it matters: The worst may still be coming. Mouynes said there are as many as 60,000 migrants — mostly Haitian — poised to make their way north to the U.S.-Mexico border.
- Panama is expecting more migrants to cross through the dangerous jungles of the Darién Gap this month than in all of 2019 — nearly 27,000, according to Panamanian government estimates provided to Axios.
- Mouynes is calling on the U.S. to help enforce a plan coordinated with countries in the region, saying, ultimately, “Let’s recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S.”
- The foreign minister wrapped up meetings Monday and Tuesday in Washington with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and members of Congress, among others.
Mouynes expressed her exasperation to Axios after spending months warning leaders across the hemisphere of the impeding Haitian wave.
- “We’ve engaged with every single authority that we can think of, that we can come across, to say, ‘Please, let’s pay attention to this,'” Mouynes said.
- A Homeland Security spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.